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nextyearsgirl
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#1
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#1
help me please! i'm trying to write my personal statement and i know i'll be okay as soon as i've got an opening sentence...but i can't think of one!!!!!!!i'm applying to study arts/social sciences at a coupla unis. anybody who can come up with anything!!!!
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Shay
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I would be very clear and straight to the point in my first paragraph...

"Social science interests me for three reasons. Reason 1, e.g. I love it blah blah blah. Reason 2, e.g. I like a test myself blah blah blah. Reason 3, e.g. This course will give me the skills for my expected career in blah blah blah

In the paragraph afterwards, I would discuss how I became interested in the subject... followed by a paragraph on my other subjects, and why I took them.

Well, this is only how I would do it... but try to get to the point... you only have 47 lines if I remember correctly...
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paymaster
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#3
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start with a quote... get people's attention!
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loftx
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#4
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It's not always a good idea to start with a quote - all it shows is you read. Coming up with something good is hard, but if someone else does it it won't really be a personal statement.
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paymaster
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#5
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yeh, I fully accept that.
But I feel its a better opening than 'from a very early age, I've always wanted to study carribean studies' or 'carribean studies is my over-riding passion, and that's why I want to study it at uni'.
I'm not knocking caribbean studies by the way...
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Loki
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I found trying to write an opening sentence I was happy with quite difficult.I settled on something like 'As much as I'd like to say I've always been interested in English Literature,this isn't really true.' and then went on to say how I had been converted to the subject by a particular book and the personal benefits of studying it over something more logical,for instance Maths.I was also a bit put off by seeing the sheer amount of people who start their personal statements with 'I've always had a passion for..' and similar things.
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Alaric
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#7
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After about 20 or so attempts at a first line I eventually settled on the rather odd decision of:
It came from the shadows but spread like a virus: the computer is having an increasingly dominant effect on my life.
It made sense to explain why when architecture had been so dominant in my life previously I'd switch to computer science. I don't like it any more. However 13 drafts later I actually finished the personal statement, and it hasn't done me too badly.

I think even if it's annoying now I think it's proabably an unusual first sentence and maybe that got me some more attention - I dunno.

Alaric.
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kildare
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It was as a twelve year old in Naas, Ireland; as I wrote a letter to the families of the victims of the Omagh bombing, that I think I first realized that essential to understanding an event or situation in the present was a knowledge of its history.

Hmmmm, perhaps not startingly brilliant but it hasn't harmed me yet...
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*Riz*
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I liked that Its got to be better than my "For many years......." grr whoever let me write that lol.
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ThornsnRoses
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#10
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(Original post by Pencil Queen)
My second personal statement (I'd already been accepted the UCAS form was just a formality) started with:

"When not staring intently at rocks I enjoy...."

(it was for a geology degree)

oh my god...another one!
Rocks seems to arouse my dad, who happens to be a geologist (petroleum).
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matouwah
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#11
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#11
start with....Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.....albert Einsien i think........or 'THIS FORM IS IN FOR TOMMOROW, SO I WILL MAKE IT AS SHORT AS A MIDGET'
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the g
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#12
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Please do not follow any of the so called advice given in this thread, namely:

1)starting with a quote, you look like an unoriginal *****
2)saying you're not interested in something, being negative is bad
3)having a very strong stand on anything, shows closedmindedness(if thats a a word), unless you are absolutely sure the people who read it will agree with you, its a risky chance.
4)talking about rabbits, i know this first hand, unfortunately.
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Loki
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#13
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Well,my point was not so much encouraging people to be negative in the opening sentence of your personal statement,just don't lie because you feel all personal statements follow a particular formula.Being negative in the opening sentence worked for me because it allowed me to build upon that and was completely honest, which makes it easier to discuss in interviews.
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paymaster
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#14
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(Original post by the g)
Please do not follow any of the so called advice given in this thread, namely:

1)starting with a quote, you look like an unoriginal *****
2)saying you're not interested in something, being negative is bad
3)having a very strong stand on anything, shows closedmindedness(if thats a a word), unless you are absolutely sure the people who read it will agree with you, its a risky chance.
4)talking about rabbits, i know this first hand, unfortunately.
Hmmm.... You seem like a thoroughly obnoxious individual. Swearing does not make your point any more valid, and may offend some people. You may have found this on other posts.

1) starting with a quote - take it or leave it. I thought it made a change... all your points seem to be trying to create a personal statement determined not to engage any admissions tutors
2) stating an opinion - well why not? if it's argued well, then everyone is entitled to their opinions. If you don't like something then you should be entitled to say it.
3) conviction, is in my opinion, a worthy quality.
4) i won't comment on the rabbits!

Now I've got that off my chest....
I encountered some these problems on my personal statement. The opening sentence: I felt the need to avoid the cliche, and a quote worked because I came across a relevant one.
In terms of opinions, the point I wanted to make in mine was 'representing palestine at a model UN meeting, I gained experience in arguing points I didn't particularly argue with'. I felt this was an important quality for a lawyer to demonstrate. I ended up changing it because my opinion on the political situation in the middle east is irrelevant for an admissions tutor. So i changed it to avoid mentioning which way i felt on the subject, whilst still getting my point across.
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dakhal
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(Original post by paymaster)
Hmmm.... You seem like a thoroughly obnoxious individual. Swearing does not make your point any more valid, and may offend some people. You may have found this on other posts.

1) starting with a quote - take it or leave it. I thought it made a change... all your points seem to be trying to create a personal statement determined not to engage any admissions tutors
2) stating an opinion - well why not? if it's argued well, then everyone is entitled to their opinions. If you don't like something then you should be entitled to say it.
3) conviction, is in my opinion, a worthy quality.
4) i won't comment on the rabbits!

Now I've got that off my chest....
I encountered some these problems on my personal statement. The opening sentence: I felt the need to avoid the cliche, and a quote worked because I came across a relevant one.
In terms of opinions, the point I wanted to make in mine was 'representing palestine at a model UN meeting, I gained experience in arguing points I didn't particularly argue with'. I felt this was an important quality for a lawyer to demonstrate. I ended up changing it because my opinion on the political situation in the middle east is irrelevant for an admissions tutor. So i changed it to avoid mentioning which way i felt on the subject, whilst still getting my point across.
Your post is really hard to read. I've read it about 3 times now and can't make sense of it so i'll just say this. I followed these rules in every sort of personal statement i've ever done and i've gotten into around 11 universities worldwide.
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redcat
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#16
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(Original post by Shay)
I would be very clear and straight to the point in my first paragraph...

"Social science interests me for three reasons. Reason 1, e.g. I love it blah blah blah. Reason 2, e.g. I like a test myself blah blah blah. Reason 3, e.g. This course will give me the skills for my expected career in blah blah blah

In the paragraph afterwards, I would discuss how I became interested in the subject... followed by a paragraph on my other subjects, and why I took them.

Well, this is only how I would do it... but try to get to the point... you only have 47 lines if I remember correctly...
Agreed, start out with why you like subject X, don't waste time by saying 'I like X and that's why I want to study it at uni'. a) they know you want to study it at uni, after all you filled in the course title on your ucas form b) they assume you want to study it because you like it, I mean, duh, because you *don't* like it?

And the business about 'from an early age I've been fascinated by X' - a) it's really overdone b) to be honest, who cares if you've always liked the subject, there are no points awarded for longevity of obsession.

My guess is that ATs would be more impressed if you could explain succinctly which aspects of the subject excite you, and why. So first sentence: 'The aspect of X that most interests me is blah blah blah... I enjoy analysing yada yada ... In my AS course we investigated dadadada and I realised that ....' and so on.

And no idiotic quotes, and no piffle about how X is the wave of the future and you want to make a contribution.
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claire1985
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#17
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I started with a quote ("History is the propaganda of the victors") and it hasn't done me any harm, i'm guessing it did me good, it has counteracted my B at AS History for offers from York, Warwick, LSE and RHUL. So advice not to have a quote is silly, if you want one-have one
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Mela L
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#18
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Hi

I actually used quite a dull opening on my personal statement (app for Natural Sciences):

"In choosing my degree course, I have decided to follow my broad interest in science, rather than a narrow subject-specific focus. This will give me the opportunity to study a wide range of disciplines initially, but to specialise later in my career. My A2 level studies support my preferred course and now being able to see the close links between my subjects confirms my choice."

As you can see, not very exciting, but that wasn't what was important. I got across what i wanted to say, and using that opening i've had offers from Bath, Durham, UCL and Cambridge. I just asked every person i know for their ideas, wrote something and got my school careers advisor to read it through. Sure if you want to dazzle and you are absolutely sure you can pull it off, use quotes, one liners or humour. In fact, I wanted to include a funny quote in my opening, but after speaking to my brother (he did a maths degree at Cambridge and got a 1st, then did a PhD in maths at Oxford and is now working as a maths researcher at Stanford, CA; i therefore consider him the fountain of all knowledge when it comes to university applications and ring him up thw whole time asking for advice) he convinced me not to, simply because (i quote) "how likely do you think it is that some old university fuddy duddy like myself [he's a lot older than me] will actually a) recognise the quote and b)appreciate it/find it funny? what if the person has never heard of where you're referencing it from?" and i agreed with him and went for the duller option.
I'm not saying you shouldn't quote or anything, it would work really well if you're applying for an arts subject like english and you slip in a humourous or interesting quote from an author who really inspired you then were to elaborate on how they inspired you, what aspects blah, blah then you could easily flow into talking about your subject plus that really shows that you have an enthusiasm for your subject and can talk about it succinctly and you've done further reading. On the other hand, to me it didn't make as much sense to use a quote.

Unless you say something really stupid, they don't just make decisions based on your opening sentence (or at least they shouldn't, there's always stories about strange admission procedures etc).
It's your content later on that's really important (infact try writing that first then you'll probably come up with an opening as you go along) i tried to make up for my boring opening by just showing how enthusiastic i was for science (talking about being chairman of committee which runs the science lecture club at school, oceanography work exp at southampton) then talking about my other interests (piano, singing, dance, D of E, hospital voluntary work, work with disabled children) and showing my enthusiasm for them after that to try and show that i am academic but am a well rounded person too.

sorry this post is too long and i have been blathering somewhat

Mela
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